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L.A.'s hot up-and-coming designers

Fashion lines shaping the L.A. scene include Of Two Minds, A.L.C., Raquel Allegra, Newbark, L'Agence, Les Aperizes, Cerre, Clare Vivier, Annie Costello Brown, Robert Rodriguez, Equipment.

March 11, 2012|By Booth Moore and Melissa Magsaysay | Los Angeles Times
  • Los Angeles clothing designer Sunjoo Moon's fashion line Of Two Minds has a Left Bank meets L.A. vibe.
Los Angeles clothing designer Sunjoo Moon's fashion line Of Two Minds… (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles…)

Many big-name L.A.-based designers — Rodarte, Gregory Parkinson, Rachel Zoe, Barbara Tfank, Skaist-Taylor and Juan Carlos Obando among them — have already shown their fall 2012 collections at New York Fashion Week. Now in the middle of Los Angeles Fashion Week, it seems like a good time to meet other designers and labels that are shaping the L.A. fashion scene and giving it global reach.

Of Two Minds

The look: L.A.'s answer to Isabel Marant.

The goods: Designer Sunjoo Moon marries Parisian chic and West Coast cool for a world-traveler vibe seen in fur vests, maxi-length dresses done in relaxed 1970s silhouettes, cozy knits and trousers festooned with subtle tribal patterns. Prices run $180 to $1,000.

The back story: After years of working for European fashion houses including Missoni, Thierry Mugler and Kenzo, as well as her Paris-based line and boutique, Moon brought her talents west to create a contemporary collection. With the eclectic and free-spirited line in its third season, Moon continues to reinterpret the Left Bank to Los Angeles inspiration that encourages layering and print-on-print dressing.

Where to find it: Ron Herman, Fred Segal.


The look: Modern wardrobe essentials with a twist.

The goods: The perfect striped T-shirt, the wear-everywhere leather jacket and the dress-up or dress-down pleated maxi-skirt are mainstays of the line, $295 to $1,895. For fall, designer Andrea Lieberman plays with tweeds, paisleys and rubber-coated lace on oversized coats, silk T-shirts and skinny pants.

The back story: A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Lieberman always knew that having her own line was in her future, even as she segued into styling tour and concert wardrobes for P. Diddy, Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Eve and other music world stars, culminating in her working with Gwen Stefani on theL.A.M.B. clothing line. Lieberman launched her own collection, A.L.C., in 2009 and has recently expanded the offerings to include jewelry, such as mini-screw stud earrings and twisted nail cuffs.

Where to find it: Barneys New York, Nordstrom,, and Intermix stores.

Raquel Allegra

The look: Artfully distressed.

The goods: Tie-dye print jackets and shorts, shredded jersey and lace layering pieces, cocoon-shaped T-shirts, soft shirt dresses and, for fall, rib knit skirts and leather leggings.

The back story: Allegra first gained a following in 2006 for turning reclaimed L.A. County Jail tees into one-of-a-kind shirts with her signature shredding and tie-dying technique. That idea has since grown into a full line of soft and tailored separates, priced at $150 to $1,300.

Where to find it: Barneys New York,,


The look: Bohemian jet-set accessories hand-stitched in Los Angeles.

The goods: For fall, the classic pancake flat Newbark slipper gets an updated silhouette and a tiny heel. There are also mules covered in caviar-like crystals, ankle boots that can be worn with the backs folded down or up, reversible tartan totes, structured pony-skin bags and soft leather pochette purses with clear plastic windows for displaying a special photo. Prices are $425 to $1,000.

The back story: Stylist sisters Maryam and Marjan Malakpour launched Newbark in 2009 with the goal of producing comfy shoes that could be worn at home, on set or while traveling. Since then, their soft, foldable slippers have become such a hit that they've branched into more structured footwear and bags with a similar utilitarian appeal.

Where to find it: Maxfield, Just One Eye and


The look: Head-to-toe dressing with a boho feminine sensibility.

The goods: Easy, washed-silk dresses, satin tops, crinkled maxi-skirts, crisp high-waist pants, tailored velvet jackets, super-soft T-shirts, cashmere capes and lush shearlings, priced at $165 to $2,700. For fall, designer Margaret Maldonado was inspired by "Dr. Zhivago" and traditional Russian clothing. Accessories and jewelry were recently added to the line.

The back story: Launched in 2008 by stylist agent Maldonado, who helped launch the careers of celebrity stylists Rachel Zoe, Andrea Lieberman and Jen Rade. The line was originally conceived as a platform for a different guest designer each season, but now Maldonado does it all.

Where to find it: Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Ron Herman, Barneys New York,

Les Aperizes

The look: Relaxed romantic with a masculine-feminine mix.

The goods: Frilly, high-neck blouses, flowing-yet-functional maxi-dresses, sturdy coats, low-slung trousers borrowed from the boys and high-waist yoke leather pencil skirts, $300 to $2,600.

The back story: Los Angeles couple Laurence Nguyen and Brian Tamborello debuted Les Aperizes for spring '12. She has a background in fashion (with stints designing for Levi's, RRL and Christophe Lemaire), and he has a background in music and photography.

Where to find it: Barneys New York, Ikram.


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